Residents of Warmbad in the ||Kharas Region staged a demonstration in protest over an alleged lack of economic development at the tiny settlement.

Disgruntled residents say they demonstrate to vent their rage over alleged failures by various government agencies to bring services to the area.

They handed over a petition to the Warmbad Settlement Office.

"We feel that we are not existing, that we are abandoned, and that we are like lepers in the Bible who have been outcasts because of their sicknesses and diseases. That's how we feel right now and for all the years," said group leader Mathew Veldskoen.

The group also claimed that they are overlooked for jobs in government institutions and mining companies operating in the Warmbad area.

"We hereby request that all stakeholders in Warmbad and surrounding areas prioritize all job opportunities for Warmbad youth and the Warmbad community before expanding to other areas with immediate effect."

The community also took issue with the recent retrenchment of workers at the African Tantalum Mine, which mines tantalite near Warmbad, and urged Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo to intervene.

The African Tantalum Mine's representative, Jean Pierre, says the mine closed because it operated at a loss. "From the beginning of the year until now, we have only mined a possible one tone, of which we could have produced, so that is a huge deviation from targets met at the mine, and we have been running at a loss for some time now."

Moreover, the protestors called on the Urban and Rural Development Minister, Erastus Uutoni, to intervene in what they term a leadership dispute among the Bondelswart Traditional Authority.

The leadership crisis, they say, contributes to the mismanagement of funds.

The Warmbad Hotspring Resort's closure and its state of dilapidation also upset the community.

Warmbad Settlement Office Acting Control Administration Officer, Ronald Aibalelo, received the petition. "On behalf of the ||Kharas Regional Council, I will accept the petition and make sure it reaches the cited respondents in this case here. We agree with the grievances cited, and we'll make sure it receives the attention it deserves."



Luqman Cloete